03/17/05 — Mike Rouse retiring as News-Argus editor

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Mike Rouse retiring as News-Argus editor

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 17, 2005 1:52 PM

J. Michael "Mike" Rouse is retiring as editor of the Goldsboro News-Argus, ending a journalism career that spanned 47 years.

Rouse started as a reporter for the News-Argus but left to join The Associated Press in Charlotte in 1961. He returned to Goldsboro 36 years later after working for the AP and for newspapers in Durham, Washington, N.C., and Fayetteville.

As an AP reporter, Rouse helped cover the civil rights movement and the strife that surrounded it. After two years in the Army, he returned to Charlotte and became the AP's news editor for the Carolinas. In that job he directed coverage of the rights movement and other stories in the two states.

Rouse organized one of the first successful statewide efforts to tabulate votes by computer on an election night. In the 1966 election, a reporter was stationed in every voting precinct in South Carolina to call results to a telephone bank in a computer center in Columbia. The "reporters" were teachers working through the South Carolina Education Association.

The AP picked the Carolinas staff in the late 1960s to test and introduce the computerized transmission of news. Rouse was part of the team that was the first to replace the old teletype machines on which every story was retyped to be sent over slow-speed leased telephone lines.

Largely to avoid a looming promotion to the AP's Chicago bureau, Rouse left the AP in 1971 to become managing editor of the Durham Morning Herald. In his 13 years there, the Herald won three Public Service Awards from the North Carolina Press Association.

Next Rouse was general manager and executive editor of the Washington Daily News for five years.

In 1989 he became managing editor of the Fayetteville Observer. The Observer was the afternoon newspaper published by the Fayetteville Publishing Co., which also owned the morning Fayetteville Times. Rouse was eventually assigned the task of combining the news operations of the Observer and Times into one morning paper. The Fayetteville Observer is now the fifth-largest paper in the state.

Rouse came to Goldsboro from Fayetteville in 1994. As editor of the News-Argus, he managed the news, sports and photo operations and wrote most of the newspaper's editorials.

For several years in the 1970s and '80s, Rouse was the legislative chairman for the N.C. Press Association, lobbying for openness in government. He served two terms on the press association's board of directors.

He has been president of the North Carolina Associated Dailies and the Raleigh-based Capital Press Association, and he is the current president of the Eastern North Carolina Press Association.

In retirement, he will continue to contribute editorials to the News-Argus.

He and his wife, Billie, are members of Madison Avenue Baptist Church, where they teach Sunday school. Rouse is a former chairman of the church's Board of Deacons.

His civic work has included literacy tutoring, Kiwanis International, United Way, Crime Stoppers and Chamber of Commerce activities.

The publisher of the News-Argus, Hal Tanner Jr., said a successor for Rouse will be announced within the next week.